Thursday, 28 July 2011

Six Shuffle #1 - 28th July 2011

A long time ago, in 2008, I had my own music blog with a friend.  I wrote a lot on it.  One of my favourite things that I did was a feature called "Six Shuffle" - I would play my entire musical library on Shuffle, six times in a row, and have to write something about the song or artist in the time that the song played for, without skipping the track.

It was fun, for me at least.  You can check the archive by clicking here. Be warned, it's wanky and poorly written for the most part, so it should be fairly recognisable as my own writing.  So, here it is: the "rebooted" first edition of Six Shuffle for Tones of Town.

The Twilight Sad - Fourteen Autumns and Fifteen Winters
The final and title track of the debut album from one of Scotland's greatest recent exports.  The Twilight Sad are up there with some of my favourite bands of all time, simply because they seem to do exactly what I wanted to do if I had been in a band - loud angry Scottish vocals, spooky lyrics, crashing waves of distortion and guitar, and thudding drumming.  They are my own musical tastes distilled into one band, and this track, a long, winding, immersive ambient track, misses a few things that make the band such a favourite of mine... but that is precisely why I like this track so much.  It embodies their range, and also echoes there EP release Here, It Never Snowed. Afterwards, It Did. that expanded on most of the tracks from the first record to this slow, drawn out expanse.  It works.

The Beatles - We Can Work It Out
This is a stark contrast to The Twilight Sad.  Taken from Past Masters Vol. 2, or the indie-est selection of Beatles tracks you can get this side of the Stereo versus Mono debacle that plagues their back catalogue.  I made the mistake of keeping the Stereo mixes as they play havoc with my left-ear deafness - it sounds like the Fab Four are screaming in my right ear with a band playing just slightly off to the left, in a different room.  Anyway, this song is one my favourites from the band, partly due to the changing pace of ryhthm, and the sweet melody that permeates through the track.  Also, an accordion?  Points given.

The Horrors - I Only Think of You
This neatly ties to a Tweet I made a few weeks back:

I have barely listened to any Horrors material before the release of the recent album Skying, and I did feel dirty listening to their third LP before their first and second, so I acquired them and started listening to them... but they made no impact.  This track is over 7 minutes long, and in that run time it feels like nothing happens.  It is like a cover of How Soon is Now? or My Bloody Valentine that never quite made it.  The production feels like 20 years old, which isn't a bad thing... but it feels so bloody boring.  Maybe in context it works, but as a solo track... meh.  Also, I am yet to be convinced by Skying, but it's at least slightly more interesting on first listen that this track.
Radiohead - How to Disappear Completely
Ah, Kid A... the best/worst Radiohead album there has ever been - in my eyes, it's their Magnus Opus, but my best friend finds it abhorrent.  He is an ardent Bends/Pablo Honey fan, and can't even really listen to OK Computer.  However, in a spate of that "you SHALL like what I like" I have tried to force the later Radiohead releases upon him, letting him hear Knives Out, or Reckoner, and this, one of their most beautiful songs ever put to record.  Some suggest Nude is better, or Street Spirit, or even the recent Codex, but this for me is such a fabulous pop song, with exquisite instrumentation and a clever structure, especially in the face of the rest of the album.  You can draw the lines from this to Nude, I guess, seeing as they are from similar time periods in the bands lifespan.  I really enjoy Kid A and Amnesiac, as not only are they good records, but my gateway albums into electronic experimentation and various other artists, which I think they were and are for a lot of music fans. 
Boards of Canada - Paul Russell's Piece
Speaking of moving into electronic music, Boards, already circle jerked by me on this blog, appear here in one of their shorter, rarer cuts.  The track just ended... moving into...

Boards of Canada - Dayvan Cowboy
Apple really need to look at their random algorithm.  I have 50Gb of music at my disposal and they pick two Boards tracks.  I am not complaining.  Dayvan is one of the stand out tracks from the band, and their most famous track - it's adorned hundreds of BBC programmes since it's 2006 debut.  It appears also on the 2006 EP Trans Canada Highway, which I love.  It's not my favourite Boards track, not by a long way, but it's certainly one that I love to hear, and smile when I know it's coming up.  The previous track in the shuffle is actually from their first "release" if you can call it that, whilst its canonical presence within the Boards discography is still discussed amongst fans.  See, it comes from A Few Old Tunes (Side II) which is a bootlegged tape of cuts from before the band had made a true release.  The story suggests that it was handed out to friends and family in the 1990s.  It has a sister; Old Tunes Vol. 2, both of which I downloaded a long time ago - I don't even know if a real copy still exists. There is still a lot of mystery surrounding the release, which I happen to love.

Bonus Seventh Track
Incubus - Magic Medicine

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